Well, I don t know about you, but my heart nearly burst out of my chest on this one Holy smokes, the twists and the turns and the turns and twists I m spinning Such a unique structure, I love how this one was set up scenes structured as a script as it is playing out in the protagonist s mind As a former acting student of a studio in New York City, this one was super relatable I loved hearing all about the acting exercises and techniques that I once studied And may I please point you to my friend Mackenzie s review for her personal take as a psychologist who once studied Beauledaire Her background casts a unique perspective on how the author has taken these topics and melded them into a fresh, fast paced psychological thriller This was a Traveling Sisters group read, and we were a slightly split group on this one Always enjoy reading the perspectives from my fellow reviewers Thank you to Random House and JP Delaney for my advance copy This book is available today J P Delaney follows up the bestselling The Girl Before with this dark, and twisted psychological thriller set in New York with the starring role played by British actress, Claire Wright Claire is attending a prestigious acting course that she came to NYC for She is perennially short of money, behind in her rent money to Jess, whom she shares a Manhattan apartment with Claire is forbidden to take up legitimate work as she lacks the green card to do so She ends up working off the books, cash only for the law firm, Kerr and Adler, with their ex cop investigator, Henry, filming married men coming on to her for their wives who have become suspicious of them Every man falls for Claire until she meets Patrick Fogler, whose wife, Stella, she had met earlier Academic Patrick Fogler is an expert on and obsessed with Charles Baudelaire, specifically the poems within Les Fleurs du Mal The Flowers of Evil with content that touches on the dark and unseemly side of sexual relationships Patrick refuses Claire s open advances but later that night, Stella is found brutally murdered in her hotel room.Claire loses her job, but is offered an opportunity to entrap Patrick by NYPD cop Frank Durban and Forensic Psychologist, Dr Kathryn Latham who believe Patrick is guilty of murdering his wife and 8 prostitutes that they know of in his life Scenes of Claire in her acting classes demonstrate just how good an actress she is She sees this as a role that offers her the opportunity to get the much desired green card, and besides she can do this It s a job with different rules from the usual of being an actress, but it requires the same skills and the same process However, nothing is as it seems, is Patrick the real target For the reader it is like falling into a dark rabbit hole with Claire, the unreliable narrator, can she be trusted on anything And what are the Baudelaire connections to Necropolis.com, an extreme BDSM site Claire is falling in love with Patrick, willing to go wherever he leads, uncaring of how dark that territory may turn out to be, in fact, the darker and dangerous, the better, all the time approaching all that she encounters with the line, what can I use from that Delaney writes a story with the kind of twists that make it difficult to predict where the novel will end up It is a beautifully written story, with Claire, a central character who is hard to get a grip on as we wonder if there is anything we can trust about her at all At the same time, I find myself unable to trust Patrick at all I can see this providing the requisitely compelling material for a film This is an entertaining and thrilling read, albeit you do have to suspend your sense of disbelief at times Many thanks to Quercus for an ARC. Claire Rodenburg, A Young British Actress, Pays The Rent On Her New York Apartment The Only Way She Can As A Decoy For A Detective Agency, Entrapping Straying Husbands When A Client Is Murdered In Macabre Circumstances, She Agrees To Help The Police Entice The Dead Woman S Husband Into Revealing Whether He S The Killer But As Claire Gets Closer To Their Quarry, She Begins To Realize That She S Not The Only One Who S Playing A Part And As She Pursues The Shadowy Figure Of A Serial Killer Across The Internet And Through The Dark Fantasies Of A Nineteenth Century Poet, She Has To Immerse Herself In Her Role Deeply Than She Ever Thought Possible 4.25 STARSDoes anyone else feel completely refreshed and renewed when they pick up a book and finish it in 24 hours or less Good, I m glad to know it s not just me I had to wait forEEEEEEEVVVVER for this one to come in at the library because I m starting to review fewer books as arcs to accommodate our busier schedule as a family, and this was one I really wanted to take on initially, but just couldn t fit into the schedule Can we all give a round of applause for the wonderful libraries across the globe and the wonderful people who work at themIt was 100% worth the wait, and it seems the forces that be knew exactly when I would need to pick this one up Quite frequently I find myself craving a good trashy novel I mean that as the highest compliment, truly , and this wacky, wonderfully suspenseful story was deliciously wicked in all the right ways.I feel I need to state right off the bat that I can understand why this book doesn t work for everyone It is indeed very bizarre, unrealistic, and filled with despicable characters It s truly hard to sympathize with ANYONE in the book, but that wasn t a feature I was taking into concern while reading Believe Me When I say this book was wackadoodle, what I mean is that there aren t any words in the english language that can do justice to just how over the top this tale was For me as a reader, and what I was searching for to fill my reading tank at the moment, it ticked all the right boxes.I hate to really say anything about the plot, because it is complex and ever changing throughout, but also because you really want to go in blind to be surprised at all the right places Beware reader, you may receive major whiplash from all the twists and turns, but it was precisely this aspect that kept the pages turning so quickly Even though I trusted no one in this story TRUST NO ONE I SAY , I found myself unable to look away from the train wreck of a cast that put most soap opera storylines to shame If you enjoy racy, compulsive, and fantastical thrillers, this one is for you It s the perfect read when you re needing something to blow through in a very short time period. Sick, Twisted, and Utterly Captivating .Claire is an accomplished actress, one of the best in her class She identifies as an actress That is who she is But, what happens when the line between fantasy and reality blur What happens when Claire gets too deep in her role And what happens when Claire loses sight of herself When she can no longer tell the difference between fact and fiction This was a beast of a thriller It was everything I had hoped and I am always a little hesitant to read a book that is receiving a load of hype, but I am happy to say that this book stands firm against its reputation This mind bender sent my brain into a psychological fury I couldn t tell what was real and what wasn t It was almost as if the protagonist had climbed inside my mind and began turning somersaults I also can t express how much I love unreliable narrators They can either make or break a story In this case, it only enlivened the novel even.As for my rating, I am always weary about giving a psychological thriller five stars There are just so many out there, and the competition is fierce It really has to have that something, something that pushes it over the edge This one had it, but I can t quite explain what it was, and perhaps that is what made it so special. Thank you to Netgalley and Random House Publishing for a copy of this ARC in exchange for an honest review All opinions presented are my own.DELANEY AUTHOR Writes Believe Me.EXT.SITTING ON A BEACH READING INSTEAD OF HANGING OUT WITH HER FRIENDS.ME4.5 knock it out of the freaking park stars Let me start this off by saying NOTHIN BUT NET Delaney, this redefined an unputdownable SLAM FREAKING DUNK of a book This grabs the readers attention right out of the gate and doesn t let you go until literally, the last sentence I am a marionette and Delaney was pulling my strings from the first sentence to the last This THIS, is a master class in thriller writing For all of the moving parts of this story absolutely nothing fell flat for me The setting, the structure, the formatting, the character development this absolutely blew me out of the water maybe slight pun intended since I finished this on a beach It s been a hard time coming, but I ve really come around to structural changes to your typical story telling when done right Delaney truly created something wholly unique here We only have one POV Claire however, she views her life as a movie and we switch between traditional story telling and script writing I had originally and right away been turned off by this For me, the goal of every book is to enter what I call the reading zone but what many call deep reading and when you really shake things up with formatting it can be hard to drop into I d say this took me abouta grand total of..two chapters to drop into that zone because of the script writing I m only somewhat familiar with scripts having read a few for my dad who free lances B movies on the side and so I was a bit wary of this However, Delaney executed it in a way even someone entirely unfamiliar with this format could enjoy It not only added to the suspense and broke up the novel a bit but it further aided to the excellent character development I ve said it before, and I m sure I ll say it again thriller suspense novels generally suffer in this area The focus is on the development of the mystery instead of the characters However, Delaney didn t falter here one bit I really felt I knew Claire and Patrick and to a lesser degree Kathryn, Henry and Frank The girl lies naked, sensuously sprawled,Her limbs spread wide to curious eyes Her secret places shamelessly exposedPoetry due to the overarching theme of Baudelaire is interspersed throughout with the scripting I m honestly really picky about poetry but it was utilized in a way that really created some seriously sinister undertones here I think Delaney used so many clever techniques throughout the story and it created a very unique, anxiety and character driven psychological thriller this is just one of many examples Sometimes, when you wear a mask too long, you find it sticks to the skin.The use of red herrings here made me understand why so many authors implement these Why they are so important and how they are properly used I absolutely loved the implementation of psychology as well and that it was for the most part correctly used I only have my bachelors in this field of study but I do have a very dear friend who has Histrionic Personality Disorder so this aspect really appealed to me, especially since it was accurately portrayed So much of mental health is misused and misunderstood and I appreciate that Delaney clearly did the research here I completed this as a Traveling Sisters group read and what a true and fun joy it was Thank you ladies for such an enjoyable read and so many fun discussions This would easily fit well into any book club out there Are you looking at reading this book BUY IT PUT IT ON YOUR SHELF This was ainsert another sports analogy for some kind of goal I don t watch sports so I only know a fewTo say the least, it s easily a 10 out of 10 for me I don t want to do a synopsis because Delaney does that expertly don t try to give anything away because this was a wild and truly fun ride from start to finish Pick it up Don t question it READ IT. A dark and twisted thriller that lured me into the story and captured my thoughts until the very last page There is no one in the psychological thriller genre who can write such captivating, loathsome, alluring characters as well as J P Delaney Earlier this year I was enthralled by his last book, The Girl Before This one is somehow even better I could not separate myself from this book Everything about it was so carefully crafted, from the story to the characters to the writing techniques And what to say about those twists I read this with a group of my traveling sisters and because we were always at very slightly different points in the book, our opinions and theories kept misaligning in a good way That is how often Delaney has you rethinking everything in this book Nearly every chapter led me in a different direction.About the BookClaire Wright is an actress who was blacklisted in the UK, and takes up coursework in New York City for a fresh start Despite incredible talent, without a green card Claire isn t much better off in the U.S Struggling to live her dream, Claire finds some unconventional work ensnaring cheating husbands for a divorce firm Sure, it doesn t make Claire feel great, but it is work that uses her beauty and skills and intelligence, and allows her to continue her studies Claire always follows the rulesAlways appear available Don t approach them first Always let them be the one to proposition you Don t actually sleep with them Get the evidence, return it to the wife, and don t speak of it to others Claire has never struggled to seduce men She finds this is a job she was made for Until one entrapment doesn t go as planned and the game changes Claire finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation The first mark who doesn t go for Claire s charms ends up with a dead wife by morning The police want Claire s help to capture a dangerous killer Claire goes undercover, but finds herself confused as she gets to know him At what point does the mask we put on become who we really are ReflectionIn college I was a double major in literature and psychology Though in my doctoral degree I chose to pursue psychology, literature has a very special place in my heart I took a French Literature course where we read Baudelaire s Les Fleurs du Mal in the original French This book is heavily crafted around Baudelaire and so I was immediately drawn in.One thing I always remember about studying Baudelaire was his passion for contrast Highlighting the incredible beauty of the grotesque and challenging our sense of propriety Baudelaire pushed boundaries beyond many poets and writers of his day His poems tend to leave me breathless They leave me mesmerized but disgusted The beauty of his words and verse contrasted with the dark imagery are really something to beholdNever fall for anyone who prefers to speak someone else s words I think some readers will find themselves hating his poetry that appears in this book, and that is a completely valid reaction But I always think of Baudelaire as testing people Showing people that they can actually be attracted to things that horrify them Delaney showcases this power in his book, both through Baudelaire s life and poetry, and through the story of the novel itself I don t want to spoil anything about the plot, but I will say that the characters of Claire and Patrick are so perfectly crafted to mirror the feelings that Baudelaire s evokes in readers I am absolutely captivated by this story.I found it interesting that Delaney actually did the translations for this book himself They are incredibly good translations Translations of Baudelaire s work tend to bring some controversy, because it is incredibly difficult to capture the meaning, beauty, and horror of Baudelaire s poems in a translation I am in awe of Delaney for the skill it took to craft such great translations The inspiration for this book is the work of Baudelaire, and to capture that essence of his writing for an audience that has less knowledge of him is incredibleSometimes, when you wear a mask too long, you find it sticks to the skin Onto some other reflections on this book This book really plays with the line between reality and fiction Claire is an actress and early in her career she learned the difference between pretending and acting To act, she learns, you have to feel what the character is feeling You have to let a part of yourself become the character And then, as she learns throughout the book, it can be difficult to tell when you are acting and you have become the character I loved reading about Claire, both in what she acknowledges, as well as what Delaney allows us to see as observers of her story.And then there is a strong theme of trust and deception Many of the characters in this book talk about trust It becomes central to every element of the story The most fascinating use of this theme is in the way that characters are unsure whether they are deceiving not only others, but themselves The characters have so much introspection, despite how narcissistic they are Like Baudelaire, the contrasts and paradoxes are the beauty in this book A character might be both strong and fragile, honest and deceitful, alluring and repulsive A character may both desire the spotlight but spend their life hiding A character may be trusting and mistrusting These contrasts kept me on my toes I wasn t ever sure where the narrative would spin next, and I loved every moment of itThose are always the most interesting characters the ones who deceive themselves Because sooner or later, the deception always falls apart I read that Delaney had actually written a book like this nearly seventeen years ago, under a different title The book was published but didn t take flight When Delaney went to republish it following his recent success with The Girl Before which you should really go read , he felt that there were flaws in the original work He rewrote it from scratch and says it is completely different in plot, characterization, and structure Well, Mr Delaney, I did not read the original version of this book, but I would like to go on record saying that this recreation of your original idea is a true masterpiece.This book is pure chaos and terror and love and torture and poetry I loved it See my blog for you to Random House and J P Delaney for my advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Well if you are looking for a thriller than will shock you at every turnthen look no further This book was so full of surprises and twists that I was in danger of getting whiplash,Claire is a young actress from England now living in New York City looking for her big break She attends acting school yet is always in need of money to continue schooland of course to just survive in the big city Her latest gig is to to work for a law firm s investigator Only one assignment may be than she can handle.now where does her acting stop and reality take over Will she survive to act another day.or will this be her swan song An absolute fast and furious read Who to believe Who to trust What is real And what is fiction This book will keep you guessing right up until the very end.A buddy read with Susanne Thank you to NetGalley, Random House Publishing Group Ballantine and JP Delaney For an ARC to read in exchange for an honest review. Believe me when I say, this was not my cup of tea Claire is a struggling actor looking for work Her one main obstacle is that she British living in the United States without a green card This makes getting a job quite difficult and one does need money to survive.She finds a job which will pay her cash She works as a decoy, hired to entrap cheating spouses on tape There are rules that need to be followed, the spouse withe the wandering eye needs to proposition her, and she needs to get it all on tape Then one day, the wife of a suspected cheater is found murdered The police believe her husband is to blame and have Claire help them get his confession The premise of this book sounded extremely interesting to me Like a cat and mouse book where one often questions just who the good guy is and who is the bad guy I so wanted to enjoy this, and I will say that I did enjoy it in the beginning and then things went downhill for me I found myself losing interest and didn t really care who was telling the truth, who wasn t, who was acting, who wasn t, etc.I enjoyed the Author s other book The girl Before and was hoping to be blown away by this book as I was by that book Sadly, I just did not connect with this book Yes, it is well written, but I just didn t care about any of the characters to even care what happened to them There are some twists and turns along the way with lots of lies, deceptions and revelations Even with the twist and turns I was underwhelmed by this book I may be in the minority on this one but it just felt flat to me.At times this book is written like a play or maybe a script in keeping with the part of Claire being an actress and giving performance There are also a lot of quotes from Baudelaire s Les Fleur du Mal his book on SM Poetry thrown in The Author does note publishing this book years ago, then re wrote it after The Girl Before became a best seller Thank you to Random House Publishing Ballantine and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.See of my Reviews at www.openbookpost.com My reviews can also be seen at enjoyed this author s previous novel The Girl Before and was really looking forward to reading this one too Believe Me was previously published in 2001 under the title The Decoy The author states that although built around the same idea as the earlier one, and containing some of the same scenes, is completely different in plot, characterization, and structure Claire Wright a 25 year old British woman with dreams of becoming an actress is struggling to make it in America Because she doesn t have a green card her options for work are limited She NEEDS to make it in the U.S She can t go back to work in London.not after what happened there.America is her second chance.She has a scholarship for an Actors Studio course, but it only pays tuition, not living expenses She is allowed to work on campus but those jobs are few and far between In other words, she s broke.Claire will do anything to keep acting Then she gets an opportunity to work for a divorce attorney It s easy money and the work is easy too She is hired to entrap cheating husbands though she prefers to think of it as behaving truthfully under imaginary circumstances Her ability to act, to become someone else came from how she grew up Most of the time she feels like the husbands have it coming Although sometimes she feels a little disgusted by what she does.When her next job doesn t turn out as planned, EVERYTHING changes and things take a very dark turn Claire is resilient and cunning, but can she do what she needs to finish this assignment What happens when even you don t know who you are any I thought this was a really engrossing read and I had a hard time putting it down The characters won t win any awards for Miss Mr Congeniality, but I was intrigued by them Usually, it bothers me if I can t connect with characters, but it didn t irritate me as much as it normally would In fact, I liked not knowing who I could trust.I didn t care much for the erotic poetry which may be because I didn t understand it However, I still enjoyed the rest of the story, and I have to admit, I did end up Googling to find out about Les Fleurs du Mal by Charles Baudelaire.Overall, I found this to be quite an entertaining psychological thriller The story had some great twists and turns, leading up to an intense and gripping ending that I never saw coming I d like to thank Ballantine Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest revi
J P Delaney is the pseudonym of a writer who has previously published best selling fiction under another name.
- 400 pages
- The Decoy
- J.P. Delaney
- 18 June 2019 J.P. Delaney